A Dialogue on Responsible, Sustainable Businesses
The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce -- an organization created to promote sustainability and responsibility -- held a workshop on day two of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs West Conference, focusing on how businesses are making the economy more sustainable. Groups, including Hewlett-Packard, the America Sustainable Business Council, The Future 500, and TapIt discussed how activists can partner with businesses to drive change, and their own efforts to be responsible corporations.
Chris Librie of HP spoke about the company's sustainability efforts, and he cited David Packard, who said in 1947 that the company has to be about more than profits. "We have to drive efficiency in everything we do," said Librie. "We need to get this message to companies so they see there's a commercial advantage to them."
A TapIt representative discussed their efforts to reduce the waste in the bottled water industry by creating a water bottle refill network. Water bottles result in 4 billion pounds of waste per year.
Panelists spoke of the need for ownership of the externel effects of business practices. "Oftentimes those who produce the waste or carbon of have some kind of impact on the environment are not paying for it. Somone else, namely the customer, ends up paying for it," said Richard Eidlin, Policy Director at American Sustainable Business Council.
Elena Christopoulos, Executive Director of the Green Chamber of Commerce, discussed the clean car initiatives moving forward in California as well as support fo the state's landmark climate change and clean energy jobs law. Focusing on making renewables and sustainability mainstream, she said, "We're still having the dialogue about price, we're not talking about the issues. Let's talk about what the issues are and where we can move from there."
When focusing on how to help companies take a stand on issues, Bill Shireman, the President and CEO of The Future 500 said, "One of the aspects of institutions is they tend to average. Within companies you have people... and they are willing to step ahead of where their companies are and do more."
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